The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), and Office for Civil Society have set out plans to undertake a review of statutory guidance that requires local authorities in England to provide youth services as part of the Civil Society Strategy.
The strategy, Building a future that works for everyone, published today, states that a review of the guidance for councils to provide “appropriate local youth services” is needed as a result of significant changes to the way services for young people are delivered since it was last scrutinised in 2012. The document states that the review will provide “greater clarity of the government’s expectations, including the value added by good youth work”. The strategy also commits to developing the evidence base for what good youth work looks like, and the beneficial impact this can have on young people’s life outcomes.
The 2012 review, undertaken as part of the coalition government’s Positive for Youth policy, backed retention of this duty, but since then council spending on youth services has been reduced by more than £400m and hundreds of youth centres have been closed as a result of cuts in central government funding.
The new strategy states: “The government recognises the transformational impact that youth services and trained youth workers can have, especially for young people facing multiple barriers and disadvantage.”
The review of statutory guidance has been welcomed by the National Youth Agency (NYA). NYA chief executive, Leigh Middleton, said:
“We are pleased to see youth work officially championed by the government and recognising the transformational impact of youth services.
“Young people deserve access to effective and widely available youth services. We know local councils want to invest more in youth service but have been forced to de-prioritise youth services in the face of budget cuts in recent years – we believe this government review will recognise this and hand down the stronger appropriate guidance to address it.”
Read the Civil Society Strategy: building a future that works for everyone for more information.